Sunday, July 24, 2011

Of camp and heat and sweat

Kate left for "nun" camp last night. We call it that because it happens to be run by a religious order of Sisters, but every time I say it I feel odd and want to clarify that Kate is not going away to become a nun. Or maybe she is. I really can't say. It certainly wouldn't be something I would discourage. Last time the girls went to this camp Jane came home and told me the Sisters were the most calm, peaceful, happy people she had ever met, so I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if one of them wanted to follow that path. You know what I was disappointed with? Jane not including me on her list of most calm, peaceful, happy people she's ever met.

Jane is in a different age group this year and so she leaves for her camp next Sunday morning. Kate won't be back home until that afternoon so they'll be away from each other for two whole weeks. This prompted them to stay up until the wee hours of the morning talking endlessly about who knows what. At some point, Jane passed out and Kate continued on, talking louder and louder in the hopes of waking Jane up. This is a nightly occurrence with Kate. She refuses to stop talking until either Jane (or me) yells for her to please stop.

Now here is where I must digress from all this talk of sleeping habits, and nun camp, and Kate being away and mention a little something about Florida heat. Some people who don't live here make fun of our extremely hot weather and talk about how unbearable it must be to live through such insufferable temperatures. Usually these people are from colder areas and making fun of our weather makes them feel better about their own. I know because I used to be one of those people. Now that I live here I make fun of the New England winters. Isn't this what life is all about anyway - mocking everything that is different from our own current experience? If you've thought of a better way to get through life, please share.

I used to believe the Florida heat caused people to dropped like flies on a regular basis. Then we moved here and I realized that, unless you're a meteorologist, weather isn't something you think about too much, other than to remember to bring a sweater with you when you go out because every church, store, library, and any other public place you happen to visit keeps the air conditioning set at frigid temperatures. This is all done to ensure that no one ever sweats, because sweating is gross and makes people smell bad, and how would we end up falling in love and having babies if we were all grossing each other out. The air conditioning is set like that to ensure the world goes on and we should be grateful and never complain about it.

Occasionally, though, we are forced to reckon with Mother Nature and her heat. Yesterday was one of those days. Kate's camp is in the forest and I suppose in order to keep things as quaint and lovely as possible this particular place is not equipped with air conditioning. This is a foolish idea.

After being there for a short time people began to sweat, and stink, and get red in the face. It wasn't pretty. I ran and hid in Greg's air conditioned truck, until Jane came and told me I was acting like a child. I reminded her that I get body odor and didn't think it was nice to inflict that on the others, but at some point I was forced to get out of the truck and be of service. That's what we're called to do as good Catholics, and trust me when I tell you I am one of the best out there. At the very least I like for others to think I am, so I sweetly asked around about making myself useful and decided to just accept the fact that no matter how much I begged God to make me stop sweating, it wasn't going to happen, not even for a good Catholic like myself.

After everyone was properly drenched and done helping the sisters set up, it was time for Mass, which was held in the hall - the hall with no air conditioning because like I said, this camp doesn't have it. People looked weak and tired, but happy, because it's nearly impossible to not be happy in Mass, even for someone like myself who spends quite a bit of her life being angry about something or other.

Mass started, the sisters sang and the priest gave an amazing homily(which I later learned none of my kids heard because they were busy wondering when the black dots they were seeing would disappear). And then it was time to give one another the sign of peace. I turned to Kate and she looked glassy and not at all excited about being there, which annoyed me, so I said, "excuse me Kate, I'm peacing you, please look happy," but she just passed out, literally. Thankfully Greg and I were there to catch her.

I'm happy to report it was nothing more serious than her getting hot and having low blood sugar. She sat for a while and ate something and promised me she would drink plenty of water and eat even if she wasn't hungry. The sisters reassured me they would look after the girls and keep them hydrated, but how can a mother not worry? I barely slept last night thinking about Kate and her cute little face and her constant, "I'm fine, don't worry about me," refrain we hear all the time, but I'm sure she is okay, since no news is good news, right?

Despite the heat and the sweat and the passing out it was a lovely day. And we filled our weekly quota for suffering. It's good to get that in at the beginning of the week.

Have a good week - and keep cool. Trust me when I say, no one wants to see you sweat.


Kirsten said...

Ann Marie this was great. I love your posts. I am so sad my girls never got to go to this camp. I think it is totally sweet your girls stayed up late talking knowing they would be away from each other.

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE the way you can turn something that really deserves a "Oh my goodness! You poor thing! Are you okay? Is everyone okay? comment, into one in which we readers can instead say, "LOL!!!!" (and then ask if you and Kate are okay.)

Seriously though, she couldn't be in better hands so I'm sure she is more than okay.

Just in case, I'll add my prayers for her ('cause, you know, I'm a good Catholic person too.)

Terri said...

Hmmm...didn't mean to come up as anonymous. That was me. LOL

deborah Macfarlane said...

I think it was so creative for you to hide in the truck...
Leave it to Janie to find you...
Black Dots...maybe they were dreaming of BLACK CROWS!

Steph C. said...

That was the LONGEST post I have had to read in the last 5 minutes. It almost made me PASS OUT!

ann marie said...

This isn't facebook. You better get used to reading something longer than four words ;) hehe

Steph C. said...

heehee. I know. It's like being retrained. I can't even post anything longer than 4 words anymore.

Julie said...

Love this post!!! Finally getting caught up on blogs! Glad we had an opportunity to catch up in real life too, even though I don't think my couch is as comfortable as yours!